2009-2010 Honors Projects

Student Name: Laura Bright

Academic Major: English/Secondary Education

Project Title: Idealization and Desire in the Hundred Acre Wood: A. A. Milne and Christopher (Robin)

Advisor: Dr. Joseph Zornado, English

Summary: In Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne re-imagines his childhood, and unlike those Golden Age childre's authors who came before, his is a self-conscious effort to represent the world of the child as emotionally complex and psychologically realistic. The Hundred Acre Wood in Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories represents Arcadian fantasy common to Children's Literature of the Victorian and Edwardian periods in England, but I am arguing that Milne's Arcadian fantasy, on the one hand is a conscious rejection of a home life informed by British boarding school ideology that emphasized violence, emotional repression and the belief that compassion only led to weakness, and on the other hand, an unconscious reproduction of the ideology that underscores it. Milne's stories about Pooh reflect both the conscious side of his Arcadian fantasy and the unconscious side of the reproduction of Victorian child-rearing ideology, which he also reproduced in raising his own son, Christopher.
Student Name: Adam R. Charpentier

Academic Major: English

Project Title: Car Trouble and Other Stories

Advisor: Thomas Cobb, English

Summary: Car Trouble and Other Stories is a collection of short stories, which examines the connection between awareness and emotional, psychological, and geographical identity. "Car Trouble" is a first person narrative of a hit & run, and the subsequent events. "Ten More Minutes" followers the recollections of a narrator as he details his admittance into and release from a mental hospital. "Islander" is told in third person perspective as a protagonist investigates his lodgings on Tinian, an island far removed from his past life. Finally, "Little Black Dress" chronicles the protagonist's lifestyle choices and the impact they make on his marriage.
Student Name: Karen Contois

Academic Major: Elementary Education, concentration in Special Education (Mild/Moderate and Severe/Profound)

Project Title: The Effects of Classroom Meetings on Student Stress Levels

Advisor: Dr. James Barton, Elementary Education

Summary: I have found that many stressors exist in a classroom; however, I narrowed my focus to a specific strategy I thought could possibly alleviate some stress and tension in a classroom environment. I chose to study how classroom meetings affect the stress levels in a classroom and what makes these meetings so affective. The name of my study is "The Effects of Classroom Meetings on Student Stress Levels". I examined different aspects of classroom meetings through observations and I distributed student surveys to determine if there were certain components of the meetings that may be crucial to stress free classrooms.
Student Name: Sharon Corriveau

Academic Major: English

Project Title: Disguise and Female Identity in Shakespearean Comedy

Advisor: Gary Grund, English

Summary: Explores how the heroines in Shakespeare's comedies redefine Elizabethan definitions of gender through donning masculine disguises, and then analyzes how the results are affected by the boy-actor convention of Elizabethan theatre.
Student Name: Chris Dollard

Academic Major: English, Creative Writing

Project Title: y = mx + b(eauty)

Advisor: Cathleen Calbert, English

Summary: y = mx + b(eauty) is a collection of twenty poems that are thematically concerned with family dynamics and history, childhood, relationships, addiction and rehabilitation, wanderlust, mortality, and the concepts of ugliness and beauty. These motifs and themes are framed by a speaker who is coming of age in contemporary America. While the compositional approaches in these poems are largely informed by the free verse narrative, slightly experimental and hybridized styles appear as well, specifically in the title poem. Ultimately, this collection attempts to form a synthesis of contemporary American poetic styles, particularly in terms of theme, voice, and composition.
Student Name: Ana Fonseca

Academic Major: Nursing

Project Title: A Descriptive Review of Health Care Providers Perspective on Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS Patients: United States and South Africa

Advisor: Sylvia Ross & Dr. Carolyn Wood, Nursing

Summary: In the United States, HIV/AIDS has gone from a fatal disease to a more chronic, life-threatening condition. With the advent of new antiretroviral medications (ARV's) people are living longer with AIDS. In contrast, people in South Africa are suffering from an AIDS pandemic, often refusing to get tested for HIV or receiving the life saving ARV's they need due to social stigma. This thesis is designed to compare the issue of stigma in the United States and South Africa. Data was compiled through personal conversations and experiences in South Africa during the month of June, 2009, during my attendance in the International Scholar Laureate Program's trip to South Africa to study HIV/AIDS with a nursing delegation from across the United States and through Rhode Island interviews in the fall of 2009. Data was obtained by conversations with health professional and community members and reading of the professional literature. Social stigma continues to be an issue in both South Africa and the United States. While stigma is more of an interpersonal problem in the United States, it is an enormous barrier to access to care in South Africa.
Student Name: Lori Freshwater

Academic Major: English

Project Title: You Gotta Move -- Three Short Stories

Advisor: Mark Anderson, English

Summary: This project was an opportunity for me to explore various aspects in the craft of fiction writing. "You Gotta Move" is a collection of three short stories set in the south. The stories are thematically tied through the symbolic importance of food and the senses. Each story features a character who is in a different generational phase of their life, and who comes from a very different background. Yet all three characters are faced with a point in their lives where they must choose to either break-free from the other in a search for identity, or to simply to remain where they are.
Student Name: Andrew Girard

Academic Major: Justice Studies

Project Title: Predicting Police Discretion

Advisor: Jill Harrison, Sociology

Summary: The purpose of this research is to examine the variables that impact police discretion involving traffic stops. It helps to understand why one person receives a citation and the other does not for the same offense. The paper examines Donald Black's theory of pure sociology, which states that outcomes go more favorably for individuals with less social space(more in common) between themselves and the officer which stops to them.
Student Name: Joshua Laguerre

Academic Major: Management

Project Title: Can Leadership be Developed by Applying Leadership Theories?: An Examination of Three Theory-Based Approaches to Leadership Development

Advisor: Dr. Randy DeSimone, Management and Marketing

Summary: The objective of this study is to investigate whether leadership can be developed by applying leadership theories, through conducting a critical literature review of the effectiveness of three theory-based leadership development approaches drawn from the academic literature: Fiedler's Contingency Model, the Transformational Leadership Theory, and the Authentic Leadership Theory. Empirical studies testing the application of these theories was obtained and reviewed for evidence of efficacy in leadership development. The conclusion of the study indicates that leadership can be generated utilizing each of the three theories, however an overall framework to develop the approach to leadership has yet to be developed. A possible framework for developing leadership based on transformational leadership and authentic leadership is offered.
Student Name: Samy Masadi

Academic Major: English

Project Title: "Play Along" with the Author: Half-Life 2, BioShock, and Video Game Narrative

Advisor: Joan Dagle, English

Summary: Compelling narratives appear as integral parts of the story-based video games Half-Life 2 and BioShock, so my thesis performs a thorough narrative analysis of each. Before it gets to its central focus of the game examinations, however, the thesis outlines the study's methodological foundation: it starts with narratology and its traditional narrative model of story and discourse, briefly discusses ludology and its gameplay-oriented view of video games, and then details game narrative theory and its points about games as narrative. From the methodological foundation, the thesis applies both the traditional narratological model and the newer conclusions of game narrative theory to Half-Life 2 and BioShock in order to show how they function as game narratives. The thesis also purposefully contrasts with the work done so far by most theorists of game narrative, which prefers an overview of several games, and rather shows what a narrative analysis of individual games looks like. It ultimately shows how the two games adhere to all of narrative's traditional elements, yet implement the elements in ways that reveal how video games are a unique narrative medium.
Student Name: John McCaughey

Academic Major: Art

Project Title: Urban Dystopia

Advisor: Stephen Fisher, Art

Summary: I've always been attracted to the city and found beauty in such things as graffiti, vandalism, and the deterioration of buildings. Urban Dystopia looks to take advantage of the common occurrences in urban environments. The process of construction and de-construction of an environment is the inspiration for this project. What I like most about graffiti is not just the beauty and risk involved, but what happens after the vandalism takes place in terms of removal or deterioration. The project will consist of several large scale murals along with prints and drawings that depict this way of thinking.
Student Name: Art Middleton

Academic Major: English, Creative Writing

Project Title: Kindness: Two Stories

Advisor: Karen Boren, English

Summary: This project is a collection of two stories collectively entitled "Kindness." The stories explore themes of the grotesque, the ambiguity of identity, and the impulse or need to transform and become something different. I experimented with difference styles in this project. One of the stories is a historical fiction piece, focusing on the burning of the Barnum museum in 1865 and the giantess, Anna Swan, who performed there during that time. The other story is a bildungsroman piece, concerning the effort of a thirteen year old boy to come to terms with his mother’s illness and the abuse his friends suffer at the hands of their families. This project challenged me to attempt different narrative approaches, aided in my ability to be more critically attentive to my own work, and helped push me to new levels of confidence in my writing.
Student Name: Michael Mota

Academic Major: Computer Science

Project Title: Inter Spem et Metum, Fiat Lux

Advisor: Dr. Kathryn Sanders, Mathematics and Computer Science

Summary: A fantastical 3D flight simulator where users can pilot their abstract avatar freely of any objectives as well as the ability to creatively discharge balls onto the environment as free-hand strokes or physically-based explosions.
Student Name: Eileen Murphy

Academic Major: Chemistry

Project Title: Protein-Protein Interactions of Bloom Syndrome Protein and Rad51

Advisor: Karen Almeida, Physical Sciences

Summary: Genomic instability is a common feature of a cancerous state. Thus, maintenance of an accurate genome is critical to cellular survival. Genomic stability requires a robust repair system to correct DNA lesions caused by both endogenous and environmental agents. Bloom syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by premature death due to a predisposition to an array of clinical symptoms including immunodeficiency and cancer. The diagnostic feature of Bloom Syndrome is an increase in genomic instability caused by mutation of the BLM gene. BLM interacts with numerous proteins in the DNA repair pathway homologous recombination (HRR); an increase in HRR leads to genomic instability. Our hypothesis states that BLM protein partnerships modulate HRR by promoting the efficient repair of free DNA ends. Our goal is to map the interaction domains of BLM with replication and repair protein partners. An overlapping set of deletion mutants were generated for BLM expression in E. coli. Proteins interacting with specific BLM regions were defined by farwestern immunoblot analysis. Results of the interaction with Rad51, an enzyme critical for HRR, define the interacting region to BLM100-214 and BLM1317-1367. The majority of the interaction lies within BLM150-214. These studies help clarify the role of BLM in the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway and in the maintenance of genomic stability.
Student Name: Alicia Roberts

Academic Major: Anthropology & English, Creative Writing

Project Title: Tutors' Tales: Narratives and Identity in Rhode Island College's Writing Center

Advisor: Edgar, Martin del Campo, Anthropology

Summary: Rhode Island College's Writing Center has a culture into which students must be initiated before becoming tutors. Drawing from their common academic background (habitus), new tutors adopt the Discourse patterns of the community from "old tutors", perpetuating values and solidifying group identification. This paper examines the significance of rituals to the process of initiation and the role of narratives of personal transformation in this story-swapping culture.

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